Kerala

Crime among migrant workers on the rise

Ominous signs that emanate from fraudulent activities among migrant workers have failed to get due attention from authorities, resulting in hardcore criminal activities subsequently.

Warning signals

The warning signals have come from Alappuzha, Ernakulam and several other districts. Though quite a few cases have been registered in the past, many employers prefer to employ migrants for several reasons.

A 22-year-old migrant, Akashtai Deepak, hailing from Assam, was arrested last year for murdering a toddy shop worker, Ramachandran, at Thakazhy in Kuttanad.

The body of the victim was stacked in a freezer in the toddy shop. Quarrel over use of mobile phone during working hours had reportedly led to the murder. The police had gone to Assam then to arrest the youth.

Another incident was the burglary at a jewellery at Chengannur last year. The crime was committed after removing the tiles on the roof and then cutting off parts of the ceiling to gain entry. Uttam Mandal, a youth from Jharkhand, was arrested in the case. In another case of burglary, electronic goods worth over Rs.4 lakh were stolen by a gang including a youth hailing from West Bengal.

“Employing migrants turns out to be a convenient way for conducting illegal operations in certain sectors such as plywood manufacture”, says Varghese Pulluvazhy, a school teacher who has been at the forefront of a struggle against plywood units functioning in Perumbavoor, in gross violation of pollution control norms.

The workers are brought from various States as well as Bangladesh by agents who operate with the help of vested interests.

“The workers are accommodated mostly in rooms adjoining the factories, without receiving permission from authorities. The rooms, without toilet facility, are meant to be mere resting places, but the workers are allowed to stay there, an arrangement which works out cheaper both for the employer and the employee,” he says. The authorities have failed to enforce the rule on possession of authorized identity cards for the workers. Political-criminal nexus has facilitated the smooth operation of the illegal activity. “The migrant workers live in squalor and the camps are often dens of vices,” he says. “Several persons occupying places of authority are on the payrolls of the plywood lobby,” a person closely associated with the anti-pollution initiative, said on condition of anonymity.

“There are hundreds of units which defy norms on pollution and other aspects. The corrupt would get lakhs of rupees from the erring ones even at a nominal collection of Rs.1,000 per unit. Corruption is the root cause behind the increase in number of illegal plywood units in the area despite a court order to restrain them,” he says.



Fraudulent activities among migrant workers have failed to get due attention from authorities



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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:57:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Crime-among-migrant-workers-on-the-rise/article14409092.ece

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